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Storage Implementation in vSphere 5.0

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Storage Implementation in vSphere 5.0

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  • Copyright 2013
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-284220-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-284220-4


Effective VMware virtualization storage planning and management has become crucial–but it can be extremely complex. Now, the leading VMware expert on storage completely demystifies the "black box" of vSphere storage and provides illustrated, step-by-step procedures for performing every key task associated with it. You’ll gain the deep understanding you need to make better storage decisions, solve problems, and keep problems from occurring in the first place.

Mostafa Khalil presents techniques based on years of personal experience helping customers troubleshoot storage in their vSphere production environments. With more experience than anyone else in the field, he combines expert guidelines, insights for better architectural design, best practices for both planning and management, common configuration details, and deep dives into both vSphere and third-party storage.

Storage Implementation in vSphere® 5.0 fully explains each storage connectivity choice and protocol supported by VMware, introduces Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA), and shows how to build on PSA with multipathing, failover, and ALUA. It thoroughly introduces Storage Virtualization Devices (SVDs) and VMDirectPath I/O, and shows how to drive powerful improvements in performance, flexibility, and manageability with VMFS 5 and VAAI.


  • Understanding how FC, FCoE, and iSCSI interact with VMware vSphere 5
  • Implementing specific VMware capabilities on storage hardware from each leading vendor
  • Avoiding, recognizing, and fixing misconfigurations and other problems
  • Using third-party MPIO plug-ins certified with vSphere 5 and PSA
  • Maximizing availability through multipathing and failover
  • Implementing fixed and round-robin multipathing on arrays with ALUA support
  • Monitoring and optimizing virtual storage performance
  • Managing vSphere-compatible file systems: VMFS and NFS
  • Taking full advantage of VMDirectPath I/O
  • Implementing heterogeneous storage configurations
  • Presenting abstracted storage through virtual disks and Raw Device Mappings (RDMs)
  • Using VMFS 5 to simplify management and improve scalability in large-scale environments
  • Sharing storage and migrating more easily across multiple VMware vSphere instances
  • Optimizing storage performance with VAAI-compliant devices

Mostafa Khalil, Senior Staff Engineer with VMware Global Support Services, specializes in storage integration for virtual environments. He has worked for VMware for 13 years and supported all VMware virtualization products since Workstation for Linux 1.0 beta. Khalil has worked on most enterprise storage vendors’ solutions and received engineering-level training for many of them. He has presented at every VMworld, and at VMware Partner Exchange, VMware User Group, and USENIX.

ISBN-13: 978-0-321-79993-7

ISBN-10: 0-321-79993-3

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Part I: Storage Protocols and Block Devices

Chapter 1 Storage Types 1

History of Storage 1

    Birth of the Hard Disks 4

    Along Comes SCSI 4

    PATA and SATA—SCSI’s Distant Cousins? 5

    Units of Measuring Storage Capacity 7

    Permanent Storage Media Relevant to vSphere 5 8

Chapter 2 Fibre Channel Storage Connectivity 11

SCSI Standards and Protocols 11

    SCSI-2 and SCSI-3 Standards 11

    Fibre Channel Protocol 12

    Decoding EMC Symmetrix WWPN 25

    Locating Targets’ WWNN and WWPN Seen by vSphere 5 Hosts 27

    SAN Topology 30

    Fabric Switches 35

    FC Zoning 37

    Designing Storage with No Single Points of Failure 41

Chapter 3 FCoE Storage Connectivity 49

FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) 49

FCoE Initialization Protocol 51

FCoE Initiators 54

    Hardware FCoE Adapter 54

    Software FCoE Adapter 55

Overcoming Ethernet Limitations 56

    Flow Control in FCoE 57

Protocols Required for FCoE 58

    Priority-Based Flow Control 58

    Enhanced Transmission Selection 58

    Data Center Bridging Exchange 59

    10GigE — A Large Pipeline 59

802.1p Tag 60

Hardware FCoE Adapters 62

How SW FCoE Is Implemented in ESXi 5 62

Configuring FCoE Network Connections 64

Enabling Software FCoE Adapter 68

Removing or Disabling a Software FCoE Adapter 71

    Using the UI to Remove the SW FCoE Adapter 71

    Using the CLI to Remove the SW FCoE Adapter 72

Troubleshooting FCoE 73

    ESXCLI 73

    FCoE-Related Logs 76

Parting Tips 82

Chapter 4 iSCSI Storage Connectivity 85

iSCSI Protocol 85

Chapter 5 vSphere Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA) 165

Native Multipathing 166

Storage Array Type Plug-in (SATP) 167

    How to List SATPs on an ESXi 5 Host 168

Path Selection Plugin (PSP) 169

    How to List PSPs on an ESXi 5 Host 170

Third-Party Plug-ins 171

Multipathing Plugins (MPPs) 172

Anatomy of PSA Components 173

I/O Flow Through PSA and NMP 174

    Classification of Arrays Based on How They Handle I/O 175

    Paths and Path States 176

    Preferred Path Setting 176

    Flow of I/O Through NMP 178

Listing Multipath Details 179

    Listing Paths to a LUN Using the UI 179

    Listing Paths to a LUN Using the Command-Line Interface (CLI) 183

    Identifying Path States and on Which Path the I/O Is Sent—FC 186

    Example of Listing Paths to an iSCSI-Attached Device 187

    Identifying Path States and on Which Path the I/O Is Sent—iSCSI 190

    Example of Listing Paths to an FCoE-Attached Device 190

    Identifying Path States and on Which Path the I/O Is Sent—FC 192

Claim Rules 192

MP Claim Rules 193

Plug-in Registration 196

SATP Claim Rules 197

Modifying PSA Plug-in Configurations Using the UI 201

    Which PSA Configurations Can Be Modified Using the UI? 202

Modifying PSA Plug-ins Using the CLI 204

    Available CLI Tools and Their Options 204

    Adding a PSA Claim Rule 206

    How to Delete a Claim Rule 215

    How to Mask Paths to a Certain LUN 217

    How to Unmask a LUN 219

    Changing PSP Assignment via the CLI 220

Chapter 6 ALUA 227

ALUA Definition 228

    ALUA Target Port Group 228

    Asymmetric Access State 229

    ALUA Management Modes 231

    ALUA Followover 232

    Identifying Device ALUA Configuration 237

    Troubleshooting ALUA 243

Chapter 7 Multipathing and Failover 249

What Is a Path? 250

Where Is the Active Path? 255

    Identifying the Current Path Using the CLI 255

    Identifying the IO (Current) Path Using the UI 256

LUN Discovery and Path Enumeration 258

Sample LUN Discovery and Path Enumeration Log Entries 261

Factors Affecting Multipathing 265

    How to Access Advanced Options 266

Failover Triggers 267

    SCSI Sense Codes 267

    Multipathing Failover Triggers 270

Path States 273

    Factors Affecting Paths States 274

Path Selection Plug-ins 276


    VMW_PSP_MRU 277

    VMW_PSP_RR 277

When and How to Change the Default PSP 277

    When Should You Change the Default PSP? 277

    How to Change the Default PSP 278

PDL and APD 280

    Unmounting a VMFS Volume 281

    Detaching the Device Whose Datastore Was Unmounted 286

Path Ranking 291

    Path Ranking for ALUA and Non-ALUA Storage 291

    How Does Path Ranking Work for ALUA Arrays? 292

    How Does Path Ranking Work for Non-ALUA Arrays? 293

    Configuring Ranked Paths 295

Chapter 8 Third-Party Multipathing I/O Plug-ins 297

MPIO Implementations on vSphere 5 297

EMC PowerPath/VE 5.7 298

    Downloading PowerPath/VE 298

    Downloading Relevant PowerPath/VE Documentations 300

    PowerPath/VE Installation Overview 302

    What Gets Installed? 303

    Installation Using the Local CLI 304

    Installation Using vMA 5.0 306

    Verifying Installation 307

    Listing Devices Claimed by PowerPath/VE 311

    Managing PowerPath/VE 312

    How to Uninstall PowerPath/VE 313

Hitachi Dynamic Link Manager (HDLM) 315

    Obtaining Installation Files 316

    Installing HDLM 317

    Modifying HDLM PSP Assignments 322

    Locating Certified Storage on VMware HCL 326

Dell EqualLogic PSP Routed 327

    Downloading Documentation 328

    Downloading the Installation File and the Setup Script 328

    How Does It Work? 328

    Installing EQL MEM on vSphere 5 329

    Uninstalling Dell PSP EQL ROUTED MEM 331

Chapter 9 Using Heterogeneous Storage Configurations 333

What Is a “Heterogeneous” Storage Environment? 333

Scenarios of Heterogeneous Storage 334

ESXi 5 View of Heterogeneous Storage 335

    Basic Rules of Using Heterogeneous Storage 335

    Naming Convention 336

    So, How Does This All Fit Together? 337

Chapter 10 Using VMDirectPath I/O 345

What Is VMDirectPath? 345

Which I/O Devices Are Supported? 346

    Locating Hosts Supporting VMDirectPath IO on the HCL 348

VMDirectPath I/O Configuration 349

    What Gets Added to the VM’s Configuration File? 358

Practical Examples of VM Design Scenarios Utilizing VMDirectPath I/O 358

    HP Command View EVA Scenario 358

    Passing Through Physical Tape Devices 360

What About vmDirectPath Gen. 2? 360

    How Does SR-IOV Work? 361

    Supported VMDirectPath I/O Devices 364

    Example of DirectPath IO Gen. 2 364

Troubleshooting VMDirectPath I/O 364

    Interrupt Handling and IRQ Sharing 364

    Device Sharing 365

Chapter 11 Storage Virtualization Devices (SVDs) 369

SVD Concept 369

    How Does It Work? 370

    Constraints 372

    Front-End Design Choices 373

    Back-End Design Choices 376

    LUN Presentation Considerations 377

    RDM (RAW Device Mapping) Considerations 378

Part II: File Systems

Chapter 12 VMFS Architecture 381

History of VMFS 382

    VMFS 3 on Disk Layout 384

    VMFS5 Layout 391

    Common Causes of Partition Table Problems 398

    Re-creating a Lost Partition Table for VMFS3 Datastores 399

    Re-creating a Lost Partition Table for VMFS5 Datastores 404

    Preparing for the Worst! Can You Recover from a File System Corruption? 410

    Span or Grow? 416

    Upgrading to VMFS5 430

Chapter 13 Virtual Disks and RDMs 437

The Big Picture 437

Virtual Disks 438

    Virtual Disk Types 441

    Thin on Thin 443

    Virtual Disk Modes 444

Creating Virtual Disks Using the UI 445

    Creating Virtual Disks During VM Creation 445

    Creating a Virtual Disk After VM Creation 448

Creating Virtual Disks Using vmkfstools 450

    Creating a Zeroed Thick Virtual Disk Using vmkfstools 452

    Creating an Eager Zeroed Thick Virtual Disk Using vmkfstools 452

    Creating a Thin Virtual Disk Using vmkfstools 454

    Cloning Virtual Disks Using vmkfstools 456

Raw Device Mappings 459

    Creating Virtual Mode RDMs Using the UI 459

Listing RDM Properties 466

Virtual Storage Adapters 472

    Selecting the Type of Virtual Storage Adapter 473

    VMware Paravirtual SCSI Controller 475

Virtual Machine Snapshots 477

    Creating the VM’s First Snapshot While VM Is Powered Off 478

    Creating a VM Second Snapshot While Powered On 484

Snapshot Operations 488

    Go to a Snapshot Operation 489

    Delete a Snapshot Operation 492

    Consolidate Snapshots Operation 494

Reverting to Snapshot 499

Linked Clones 501

Chapter 14 Distributed Locks 505

Basic Locking 506

    What Happens When a Host Crashes? 507

    Optimistic Locking 508

    Dynamic Resource Allocation 509

    SAN Aware Retries 509

    Optimistic I/O 511

    List of Operations That Require SCSI Reservations 511

    MSCS-Related SCSI Reservations 512

    Perennial Reservations 514

    Under the Hood of Distributed Locks 519

Chapter 15 Snapshot Handling 529

What Is a Snapshot? 530

What Is a Replica? 530

What Is a Mirror? 530

VMFS Signature 531

    Listing Datastores’ UUIDs via the Command-Line Interface 532

Effects of Snapshots on VMFS Signature 532

How to Handle VMFS Datastore on Snapshot LUNs 533

Resignature 534

    Resignature a VMFS Datastore Using the UI 534

    Resignature a VMFS Datastore Using ESXCLI 536

Force Mount 540

    Force-Mounting VMFS Snapshot Using ESXCLI 541

Sample Script to Force-Mount All Snapshots on Hosts in a Cluster 543

Chapter 16 VAAI 549

What Is VAAI? 550

VAAI Primitives 550

    Hardware Acceleration APIs 550

    Thin Provisioning APIs 551

Full Copy Primitive (XCOPY) 551

Block Zeroing Primitive (WRITE_SAME) 552

Hardware Accelerated Locking Primitive (ATS) 553

    ATS Enhancements on VMFS5 553

Thin Provisioned APIs 554

NAS VAAI Primitives 555

Enabling and Disabling Primitives 555

    Disabling Block Device Primitives Using the UI 557

    Disabling Block Device VAAI Primitives Using the CLI 559

    Disabling the UNMAP Primitive Using the CLI 562

    Disabling NAS VAAI Primitives 562

VAAI Plug-ins and VAAI Filter 564

    Locating Supported VAAI-Capable Block Devices 565

    Locating Supported VAAI-Capable NAS Devices 567

Listing Registered Filter and VAAI Plug-ins 569

Listing VAAI Filters and Plug-ins Configuration 570

Listing VAAI vmkernel Modules 573

Identifying VAAI Primitives Supported by a Device 574

    Listing Block Device VAAI Support Status Using the CLI 574

    Listing NAS Device VAAI Support Status 577

    Listing VAAI Support Status Using the UI 577

Displaying Block Device VAAI I/O Stats Using ESXTOP 579

The VAAI T10 Standard Commands 582

Troubleshooting VAAI Primitives 583

Index 587


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